Farmers' Market

During the very first year of Power of Produce, Essentia gave out free bike helmets for kids and adults alike. This second year, it’s youth life jackets. Boat, bike and be safe!

Essentia to give out free youth life jackets and

provide youth life jacket fittings during the Market’s Power of Produce Program for kids

We live for our summers here in the Northwoods; fleeting seasonal produce like the first local berries, tomatoes or sweet corn are a big part of our summer sensory overload. The Grand Rapids Farmers’ Market certainly helps deliver those delicious treats of summer.

On Saturday, July 13, the Market will help connect people to another essential part of summer in the Northland.

What could possibly compete with delicious local produce? Spending time on one of the 1,000 plus lakes and rivers in our area while boating, canoeing, fishing, kayaking and swimming.

Yet enjoying the beautiful, refreshing waters of the Northwoods comes with danger as well; the Market, in partnership with Essentia Health, is hosting a Water Safety Day on Saturday, July 13.

Not only will there be life jacket fittings and water safety information, but Essentia will be giving out free youth life jackets, too!

This is the second year Essentia will be giving away free items related to kids and healthy active living. Last year, Essentia distributed more than 100 youth and adult bike helmets at the Market to encourage kids and their parents to protect their noggins while pedaling around town and beyond.

“Injuries from drowning kill more kids ages one to four years than any other cause except birth defects,” said Carrie Carlson-Guest, spokeswoman for the American Red Cross’ Minnesota region.

In an effort to stem such tragedies, the Minnesota legislature passed a bill in 2005 requiring all children under the age of 10 to wear life jackets at all times while boating.

Just because you’re wearing a life jacket (or a bike helmet for that matter) doesn’t mean that it’s positioned in a way that could save a life in an emergency. Parents whose children already have life jackets are strongly encouraged to bring those jackets into the Market and have them fitted properly - making sure those kids who are growing so quickly are getting maximum safety from their life jackets.

Sometimes, youth are resistant to safety devices like helmets and life jackets. Debbie Munson Badini, outreach coordinator for the DNR’s boat and water safety program, says that showing kids videos and pictures of the pros can do a lot to change the perception of safety items that might come off as ‘nerdy.’

“It’s not uncomfortable, it’s not uncool. If you watch any of the major bass fishing tournaments on TV, all of those guys are wearing inflatable lifejackets.” There’s not a single bicyclist on the Tour de France without a helmet, either.

Not only can kids come on July 13 for a free life jacket (or have their current jacket properly fitted) but all kids 3-12 can participate in the Power of Produce Program, where they get a free $2 token to purchase their own produce each and every Market day.

With lots of new seasonal produce hitting the stands, upgraded credit, debit and EBT services and so many other tasty goods flooding the Market, paddle on over this Saturday and Wednesday, 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. to the corner of Pokegama Avenue and Golf Course Road. Enjoy the very best that the Northwoods growers, makers and partners have to offer.

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